Phil Downer in his book, Eternal Impact, differentiates between the value of success and significance. For success, he likes the definition Chip MacGregor and Bobb Biehl devised, “the feeling you get when you reach your goals.” Phil defines significance as “making a difference in the lives of people over time.” For Downer, the distinction between success and significance is that the former ends with the attainment of goals whereas the latter has a lasting dimension. I’m conflicted with his distinction because the ability to attain significance is a mark of success. But let’s take it deeper to the point Phil is really making—reproduction of what is important is what we ought to seek. To do this requires training.
They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
Some of the most passionate people on the face of the planet are those who believe they are invested in an important cause. You, like I, have probably encountered those who are zealous about taking care of the planet. Their message against pollution and warnings about callously disregarding the land, sea and sky are noble. We should be good stewards of what God created.
Others are zealous for same-sex rights, prolife or prochoice. Still others crusade against guns or for the right to bear arms, against drunk drivers or for the right to smoke weed, against corruption in the government or for laws ensuring all children are vaccinated.
The 3rd United States Infantry Regiment has three active battalions, and is identified by its nickname, “The Old Guard.” The regiment is a major unit of the Military District of Washington (MDW) and is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army. Originally called the First American Regiment in 1784, itsmission is “to conduct memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades and ceremonies and special events to represent the U.S. Army.”
1 Peter 4:1,2—Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin—in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.
Trenton’s wisdom is deep for such a young boy. In describing his love for Lindsay, his sister, Trenton shared, “I would take a bullet for her.” As he regained his composure after getting choked up, he added “She’s my best friend. I would do anything for her. My life would be nothing without her.” These are not trite statements they emanate from his heart.
Lindsay has spinal muscular atrophy yet from her motorized chair she beams when she describes her older brother. His example of love if followed would change the world! Watch their story at http://omeleto.com/213180/ and make sure to have Kleenex handy!
Dashrath Manjhi by his own hands carved a road through a 300-foot mountain to provide his town access to doctors, education and opportunities. After his wife fell down and got hurt while trying to cross the mountain that separated two villages, Manjhi sold three goats to buy a hammer and chisel. He decided to do something to make it safer for his family and those in their village. So from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to evening each day he attacked the mountain—pounding his way through massive rock. From 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. he plowed the fields of his neighbors to earn enough money to sustain his family.
Genesis 1:25—So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Revelation 3:2—Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God.
In 1915, Rabbi Jeremy’s grandfather as a teenager recognized that if he stayed in Russia he was likely to be persecuted and deprived of basic freedoms. So, he left his family and walked—all the way to Israel. It took him one and half years to reach the port of Jaffa. I would imagine it was a dangerous trip full of excitement, fighting cold and hunger as well as numerous other challenges. With a group of men touring Israel (including my two sons and son-in-law), we listened to Jeremy share life lessons at Yad Hashmona Country Hotel.
Every evening at sundown, 78 year-old Don Brittain stands on his back porch, places his trumpet on his lips, and plays Taps. At the first sound of the 24 notes his neighbors stop what they are doing and walk outside to stand at attention. Most of them have never served in the military. Nor has Don who suffered polio as a child. Yet, like this aerospace worker who chooses to honor our military veterans, they are gripped and inspired by the solemn music he so carefully plays. And as much as his ritual is for the military, it is also for his neighbors. Lyle shared reporter Steve Hartman’s story with me and you can view and listen as well if you go to
3 John 5-8—Dear friend, you are showing faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers, especially when they are strangers. They have testified to your love in front of the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such men so that we can be coworkers with the truth.
Romans 13:14—But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
There is an insightful television program called Undercover Boss. Each episode, the owner or CEO of a company is disguised and then works for several days with different employees with differing responsibilities. Often the boss is inept at the tasks the employee is to teach him which puts pressure on him to do better. As he works with each selected person he also finds out what life is like in their shoes. Some are struggling financially or dealing with challenges that make life difficult.
Jamaal and Hannah spend hours each day playing video games. Their mother Roxanne*, says it is “okay”—at least they are not doing drugs or out on the street involved with the wrong crowd. Today we have Jamaals and Hannahs in their mid-thirties who devote hours each day to gaming. Their spiritual lives are mediocre and their contribution to advancing heaven’s agenda is abysmal. Their parents let them feed their infatuations when they were younger so long as the obsession was “harmless.” But there is no such thing as a harmless infatuation.
Roman Catholic monk Girolamo Savonarola, (September 21, 1452 – May 23, 1498), was shocked by the immorality in Italy and by the corruption he observed within the church. As a teenager, he walked beside the River Po where he sang to God and wept over the condition of the people. At the age of 22, he wrote “Contempt of the World,” comparing the sins of his time to Sodom and Gomorrah. Years later, while praying, the Holy Spirit gave him a vision in which he was told to announce to the people that hard times were coming to the church.
Why do followers of God go through the motions of Christianity shallowly in love with their Father? What does it mean and look like to have an intimate walk with Jesus? Spiritual Intimacy can be defined as a growing I can’t live without You relationship with God that is our first cause, our abiding joy and our natural expression.
If ever there was a need for prayer, it will be for a man named Obama. He inherits a nation at war with a stressed out economy. He will pilot a land divided in opinion in the midst of a world looking for a messiah. He will render senior leadership in a most complicated government with junior experience and little room for failure. He will face a press that is woeful in gathering all the facts and enemies that would love to see this nation destroyed. He will need wisdom from above in a culture that increasingly follows an ethical theory and practice “that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.”*
Meet Manasseh Wakawa. He is one of the most fruitful men I have ever met and his heart for the Lord is expansive. He is a powerful example of why spiritual trainers are so vital to the Kingdom of God.
On the plane from Atlanta to Portland, I sat next to a salesman and a lawyer. We had a great time sharing stories, food and funny video clips during our five hour flight. Matt shared with us that he was headed to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to compete in the Ironman competition. On Sunday, his goal is to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in 12 hours! We pumped him with questions and he shared his training regimen, thrills and spills in past competitions. And then he told us the secret to his perseverance.